Spend Quality Time with Your Dog

5 simple ways to spend more quality time with your dog.


Down the street from me lives a young Labrador Retriever whose plight breaks my heart every time I see him. He’s not mistreated, at least not in an obvious way. He’s just always alone. Day after day, he stays outdoors in his fenced yard, with no one for company. From his yard, he barks at all who pass by as though he were asking for someone — anyone — to pay attention to him.

The dog’s owner is a busy guy. He’s got a full-time job, a house to maintain, and all the other tasks to perform that go with life today. I sympathize: 21st century life can be chaotic for anyone. But we can make time for our dogs without exerting very much effort or spending a lot of extra time. Here are some ways to do just that.

Take her along. Whether running errands, picking the kids up from school, or stopping by your office, including your dog can be a hassle-free way to give her attention and stimulation. “For adult dogs whose owners’ lifestyles primarily revolve around being home, at soccer games, and ferrying the kids to school, having the dog participate in these activities can meet much of her social needs,” says Alice Moon-Fanelli, Ph.D., certified applied animal behaviorist at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Sleep with her. Experts agree that having your dog sleep in your bedroom, but not necessarily on your bed, can be a great way to spend extended time with your canine companion with no additional effort on your part. You sleep, she sleeps. What could be easier?

Find things you both like to do. Some activities you do for your own enjoyment are even more fun if your four-legged friend does them with you. Moon-Fanelli recommends spending some one-on-one time with your dog “in mutually enjoyable physical activities,” such as swimming and hiking.

Try multi-tasking. Are you busy fixing lunch or preparing dinner while your dog hangs around? Use this opportunity to help her practice sit-stays and down-stays. Are you watching TV? Use that time to brush your best friend, too — or at least give her some cuddle-time.

Do some delegating. If you don’t live alone, other family members can help out with dog care. For example, “when there are children in the household, they can become the designated walkers, exercisers, and players,” notes Terry Curtis, DVM, veterinary behaviorist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “It just spreads the interactions over more people.”

That said, you do need to at least spend a little extra time with your dog if she’s to become a happy member of your household and stay that way. Every dog needs training, exercise, and some one-on-one time with her people each day. A little creativity on your part can go a long way toward meeting those needs without putting much of a dent in your schedule.

Maybe I can find a way to explain that to my Lab-owning neighbor the next time I see him.

Award-winning writer Susan McCullough lives with her husband, daughter, and dog in Virginia.


4 of 78 Comments View All 78 Comments

Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Spend Quality Time with Your Dog

User Avatar

Carl   Leicester, UK, International

4/22/2016 1:55:01 AM

I have a Golden Retriever companion who is ten years old now. We may have another two, three, four or even five years left together, but having an older dog as a companion brings it home to me that you are a long time separate so make time to spend quality time with your canine companion.

You will miss him or her when s/he has to pass on and then it will be too late. You will either have many memories or many regrets. I know which one I will be building.

User Avatar

James   East Chatham, New York

3/7/2013 5:44:25 AM


User Avatar

James   East Chatham, New York

3/7/2013 5:40:02 AM

Beacon Hill Collies Remember if you have never done these things with your pet before give them a fair chance to get used to it and learn how to behave while in the car or on a walk etc. I hate when I hear someone say " Yeah we took him in the car once to go to the dog park and it was a nightmare, he threw up all over the car and was so hyper at the park he wouldn't listen. We can't take him/her anywhere" Imagine that, car sick the first time and he/she was so hyper the first time at the park he didn't listen. What a rotten dog you must have! He/She must not have read the dog rule book you gave him about proper dog etiquette! Sorry for the sarcasm but come on people use your head. MOST Dogs get motion sickness in the car. The only cure is to keep taking them until they get used to it. the older your dog the longer it may take. Expect it and prepare for it. Bring a bag of items that will make clean up easier and cover your seats and/or use a dog crate at first if it will fit in your car. Remember if he/she gets sick it's your fault for not getting him/her used to it at an early age, not your dogs fault. I get all our dogs used to the car asap for the simple reason that a puppy makes a tiny mess compared to a full grown. Some get sick once or twice then they are fine for the rest of their lives, some will get sick a dozen times. Like everything else in life if you put forth the effort now you will be rewarded double and triple later on when you have a well trained companion that brings joy and enlightenment to your days for the rest of his/her life!

User Avatar

nicole   elmore, OH

5/2/2011 8:05:30 AM

Great article! I frequently feel disappointed in the amount of time I now have for my furbabies with a one year old to chase around. But after reading this article, I feel a little better knowing some of the small things I already do, MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! I LOVEEE my furbabies and want whats best for them and the rest of our family.

Login to get points for commenting or write your comment below

First Name : Email :
International :
City : State :

Captcha Image

Get New Captcha

Top Products